Miller calls for Bush’s resignation

Independent MLA Ezzard Miller is calling on McKeeva Bush to step down over what he calls the premier’s “grossly detrimental” plan to introduce the controversial expat tax plan.

“Given his actions and announcements over the past week that have shaken the financial industry to its very core, damaged Cayman’s international reputation and created further instability and division in the community, Mr. Bush should be asked to step down as Finance Minister,” said Mr. Miller.

He urged “all right-thinking members of the business community, Caymanians from all cross sections of society and those of us in political leadership to demand of Mr. Bush that he removes himself from the Finance Ministry, to prevent further damage to the Cayman Islands.”

As well as being premier, Mr. Bush serves as the minister of finance, tourism and development in the Cayman Islands Government.

The independent member for North Side said Mr. Bush had undertaken an “unnecessary and reckless departure” from Cayman’s traditional revenue sources to a form of income-determined tax, an action Mr. Miller said was “grossly detrimental to this country and he should be required to re-assign the Finance Ministry”.

Members of Cayman’s local business community issued a statement Saturday saying that, following a meeting with them Friday, the premier had agreed to scrap the tax, which involved imposing a 10 per cent levy on work permit holders earning $36,000 or above. Mr. Bush has said he will make an announcement regarding the tax at a meeting at Mary Miller Hall tonight (Monday, 6 August), but as of Monday afternoon, had not confirmed that the tax proposal would be abandoned.
Mr. Miller commended the private sector group of businessmen for intervening in the situation, which he said appeared to have resulted in the Premier’s indication that he would drop the tax, dubbed the ‘Community Enhancement Fee’, as a revenue-raising measure.

“Like the rest of the community, I await further announcement from the premier that will provide details about what fees are recommended in lieu of the Community Enhancement Fee and what progress he is making to finalise the country’s 2012/2013 budget,” said Mr. Miller.

“Despite the efforts of the private sector group over the weekend, we note today that there is still a lack of clarity and no small amount of confusion coming from a subsequent statement from the premier. This is disappointing, but hardly surprising. Sadly, it is in keeping with the frightening level of incompetence that the premier has discharged his responsibilities as the minister of finance,” said Mr. Miller.

He also criticised Mr. Bush for travelling to Jamaica for celebrations for the country’s 50th anniversary of independence and to London for the Olympics. “I find it difficult to accept that our premier had to be there at such a crucial time in our budget preparation,” Mr. Miller said.

He also queried how Mark Scotland, the minister of sports, could “find the time and money to take a big entourage to London to attend the Olympics, while his government has plunged the country into uncertainty and anxiety”.

Mr. Miller and the People’s Progressive Movemember party on Monday postponed a meeting they had planned to hold in George Town Monday night about the income tax plan. They called off the meeting in order to wait and see what Mr. Bush had to say about the tax and the alternatives that are being considered at his meeting Monday.

 

Ezzard Miller

Mr Miller

6 COMMENTS

  1. There’s a part of me that can’t believe what I am about to say. And I am sure others will be too. But for the second time in as many weeks I agree with Ezzard. This time it’s with his description of the damage caused by the premiers anouncement regarding direct taxation, it really has shaken Cayman to the core. Regarding stepping down, I don’t know what to think of that, who would take his place with such a short time left maybe his people should just put him on a short leash. Also, with Ezzard having called for him to resign so many times it’s kind of like crying wolf.

  2. I’ve actually been contemplating writing a letter to the editor proposing the same thought. Mr Bush has done serious harm to the Cayman Islands, through poor planning and sheer negligence.

    At first I questioned whether the expat tax was a political ploy to reach another result. If it was, it came with a very high price, as Cayman gained world-wide negative attention. It appears Mr Bush was not that clever, and that indeed he simply threw the idea out with the hope that it might stick.

    The most shameful part of Mr Bush’s actions is that a public vote was held on July 18. Surely he knew that he had budget issues prior to then? If he wanted to go the route of taxation, he could have added it as a ballot initiative and put it to the public, and had a healthy debate on the topic in advance. Instead, it appears he acted with very little thought of the consequences of his actions. The Cayman Islands deserves better from its Premier.

  3. NJ2Cay

    What many people do not realise is that this suggested tax plan by McKeeva Bush has NOTHING to do with balancing the budget.

    When McKeeva Bush won the 2009 election and with it, the office and power of Cayman’s first-ever premiere, I knew somehow, that his term of office would not finish without a major power play effort to undermine Cayman’s status as a British Overseas Territory and an attempt to manipulate a change in that status.

    In other words, to slip the Cayman Islands into independence through the back door while he was still in power.

    This tax plan is nothing more than such an attempt.

    If you notice…he continues to accuse the Governor Duncan Taylor, the British Govt., his political opponents and whoever else under the sun, of attempting to destroy the Cayman Islands, without offering one shred of credible evidence to support his accusations.

    In the meantime, the facts are only now emerging, through the efforts of Ezzard Miller in particular, of some of the deals that he has made with Michael Ryan and Dart for the exchange of crown lands that threatens the livlihoods and businesses of hardworking Caymanians.

    His rants in the Cayman media are only an attempt to divert attention away from his true purposes and intention.

    Thankfully, these intentions are now being exposed and Cayman’s voters should take the necessary steps in the upcoming election to make sure that they are NEVER fulfilled.

    Vote this demagogue dictator out of power permanently or pay the price because Cayman will not survive another term with him as premiere.

  4. Let’s not jump the gun. Mr.Bush will make a proper proposal. His leadership will keep Grand Cayman the financial center it is and lay the groundwork for sustainable growth.

  5. Steve…

    I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one thinking along the same lines.

    No leader, or any human being for that matter, is perfect and to expect perfection is totally unrealistic but…

    A person’s intentions is clearly demonstrated by their actions…and Bush’s actions clearly speak of his intentions.

    In reality, given the negative financial situation that Mr. Bush’s government inherited…how much time and effort have they really spent in addressing these budget issues in the 3 years they have been in power ?

    By my figuring, very little.

    We’ve seen economic proposals that look more like private sector business deals…we’ve seen a number of MOU’s that have amounted to nothing more than broken promises that has cost the people of Cayman millions of dollars in settlement penalties…

    But we’ve seen no meaningful or effective action to balance this government spending deficit.

    If Bush, or any other government leader wishes to address Cayman’s economic situation, they have some of the world’s best financial minds right there on that little 100-square mile rock…some of them being Caymanian too.

    A national symposium would be a good place to start to collect ideas and proposals for raising government revenues; with the financial industry professionals in Cayman.

    Dialogue with the entire country is going to be the only way to address Cayman’s current economic crisis…and a crisis it is, from where we stand on the outside, looking in.

    This political attempt to impose taxes on foreigners was probably the WORSE thing Bush could have done at this time.

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